Well, for the final review of this season's batch I present the Human Herd/Schizoid split 7'. This was released back in September 2011, but you know how slow these things get to us reviewers, and as we're not paid professionals (at least most of us aren't) we review them when time permits, which usually takes a while to assimilate, and then a while longer as we slog through the stack of stuff we get in large packages. My apology to the artists for the delay, but we get to 'em when we get to 'em. For me, this is the first piece of vinyl I've gotten from Chain D.L.K. to review, and I probably should have put it first rather than last, but...whatever.
A little background on the bands- both are from Canada; Human Herd now based out of Hamilton, Ontario, and Schizoid located in Toronto. Human Herd was formed in 2003, and according to them are influenced by NON, Mayhem, Skinny Puppy, Iggy Pop and The Doors. (I didn't hear much of those influences on this record.) Schizoid goes back to 1998, and are the owners of D-Trash Records. Schizoid claims Atari Teenage Riot, Canidru, EC8OR, Meathook Seed, Mayhem, Malformed Earthborn, Thorns, The Berzerker, Brutal Truth, Ultraviolence, (and others) among their influences. (I could hear some of those in what they did on the record.) Schizoid is apparently a well-known name in the digital hardcore scene. Schizoid is also known for performing in 2000's black metal act Dead of Winter, as well as remixing exclusive tracks for Red Harvest, Agnostic Front , and Mortiis. Live, Human Herd has shared the stage with acts such as Behemoth, Cryptopsy, Nargaroth, and Kataklysm; and Schizoid with EC8OP, Merzbow, Faxed Head, and Phallus Uber Alles.
Let me preface this review by saying that I have nothing against the Digital Hardcore genre. I think a little loud, abrasive, fucked-up noisy music is not only good for the soul now and then, but also cleans the wax out of yer ears. That being said, let's get on with the review. Human Herd's 'Never Despair' on the A side relies on a distortion-driven, semi-slow 5 note guitar riff that continues throughout most of the 3 minutes and 16 seconds of the track. It modulates key once, going up a half step. Other elements include what sounds like backwards breaking glass and cymbals, and some rudimentary percussion. Of course, there are the growly speak-sing vocals of which I could occasionally decipher a word here or there. You'll find that guitar riff pretty monotonous after about a minute. Maybe Zen and drugs (incompatible?) would have made it more tolerable, but I relied on neither. I figured the other side had to be better, I was wrong. Schizoid's 'The Next Extreme' sounded like a shitstorm of guitar distortion and hoarsely screamed vocals. I couldn't make out a word of the lyrics. I couldn't hear any drums. To say this track doesn't translate well to vinyl is an understatement. I cranked it up loud and couldn't hear any bass. I thought my cartridge might be cooked, but I put on some other vinyl and it sounded fine. Now to be fair, I checked out the YouTube video of the song, and that was a whole lot better. I could actually make out a word now and then, the mix sounded better, the bottom was there, and the video was pretty cool too, in an apocalyptic way. But I really have to rate this record on the way it sounded to me, and that wasn't too good. I dunno, maybe the mastering, or my system, but it didn't come across well.
Even though I'm giving this a low rating, I strongly suggest you buy it anyway. Why? Several reasons ' Maybe it will sound better on your turntable. Hey, it's vinyl, and could become highly collectible over the years (limited to 300 copies). Some might believe it's the worst record they own. (There are many, many worse things on vinyl though; that's a tough award to clinch.) It could grow on you...like a fungus. It's only $8.00. The bands need the money. Pressing vinyl ain't cheap, and I respect artists who put out music on vinyl these days...well, the independent ones anyway. I also like the Schizoid T-Shirt (you should buy one of those too), but I doubt D-Trash is going to send me one after this review.